Carnival Triumph Cruise Review by stewpapa: Triumph Review 9/14/2013 Sailing
Overall Member Rating
Triumph Review 9/14/2013 Sailing
Destination: Western Caribbean
Triumph - Post Disaster and 2.0 upgrade! ' It IS all about US!
Triumph Review 9/14/2013 sailing
The Triumph is very special to us as it was our first ship on our honeymoon in 2000 out of Florida. It was the latest and greatest cruise ship in the world and quite expensive back then. We had no idea we would ever be able to afford cruising again. But, here we are 13 years and 16 cruises later. Mainly, thanks to the decrease in cruise prices and the start of Galveston cruises, both of which made cruising very affordable for us.
We were thrilled when the Triumph moved to Galveston and booked it as soon as we could. We sailed it for the second time in late 2012, not long before the disaster of 2013. Now, we were excited to get back to our old friend, the Triumph, after being refurbished and the 2.0 upgrades. We were not disappointed. We had no friends or family with us this cruise and decided to take it easy and this cruise really became ALL ABOUT US! And the More Carnival crew and staff did their part to give us another great cruise!
This was our Platinum cruise and right off the bat, we enjoyed the VIP embarkation and other perks. Since we were Platinum, we also got the FTTF perks of going to our room early and getting our luggage early. We were among the first on board, I'd say 11:30, and went to eat and then to our cabin, which was ready when we arrived as advertised. Not a big deal to us, but nice.
Oh, and the Platinum/Diamond Guest Services line was wonderful. Both times we went to guest services there were at least 30 people in line. We just went right up to the VIP slot and got what we needed. Felt kind of guilty, but we just didn't look at the line in case we got any dirty looks. Love it a lot! Hate spending vacation time waiting in line for guest services. Nice perk!
We had a Lido Forward Balcony cabin. It was just above where the ship breaks the water, and we enjoyed this location and our balcony a lot. It was the first Lido for us, and we will book it again. A great location.
We have always loved the food on Carnival, but I think ships like the Triumph are even better because there are NO pay restaurants therefore the best food and service is still in the MDR and other free food venues. The Buffet food is very good and beautifully presented. There is also the Deli and Chopsticks, which are used for excellent omelet stations at breakfast. The MDR is still a great experience too. We now do Anytime Dining and request a table for two. Always enjoyable, although on this cruise, we skipped the MDR on two nights, just because we didn't feel like dressing for it. Never done that before, but this cruise was for us to do what we wanted and we did. We also skipped the show a couple of times, another first for us. This was a very relaxed cruise for us. We didn't let the cruise schedule rule us. Very nice.
Before this cruise I wondered why everyone was making a big deal of Guy's Burgers, but now I know. It is a GREAT upgrade, and the burgers and fries are really a great improvement over the old burgers. Very well presented and a great burger and menu. Nice change! (There are still hotdogs in the back across from the pizza, so don't worry)
The Blue Iguana Taco Station is a great addition as well. The whole pool area is really nicely upgraded.
The Red Frog and Blue Iguana bars near the pool are attractive and we liked them. We do not lay around near the pool, so it wasn't a problem to us that it took up a lot of the pool area room. The smokers were crammed into an even smaller area, but it doesn't affect us and I didn't hear any complaints. The Lido area looks really nice.
Alchemy Bar: this replaced the California Wine bar (Zoran's), but it is still a martini bar, and we love it even more. The bartenders (from Serbia and Romania) were as awesome as Zoran used to be, and watching them mix the drinks is actually fun. They are very personable and helpful in selecting what to try. One of our favorite places on the ship. If you drink, don't miss it. If you don't, get a soda and go watch them anyway.
The Sports Bar: I think it would be a good upgrade, if they actually used it for the main sports viewing venue. But it was mostly empty, when I noticed it, because they were playing sports on the hideous big screen near the pool most of the time. As we are not sports fans, we hated that' I actually hate the big screens in general, as I have said on CC many times. We would prefer having Caribbean music or band on the Lido deck at all times.
As you can see most of the 2.0 upgrades were upgrading bars'' lol, but we did like the upgrades.
The Lido Deck Buffet 'Eye's' survived the Triumph disaster AND the 2.0 upgrades. (You will only know what this means if you have been on the Triumph)
More about the big screen:
I see the appeal of having movies at night outside, although that is not something we have ever taken advantage of. We try to get away from TV, phones, computers and all technology on cruises. Other than that, I HATE the big screens, and TV's in general, in public areas of the ship. The big screen really takes away from the Lido deck experience during the day, by replacing Caribbean music with TV and Sports. I just can't overstate how much we hate it. It's really not fair subjecting none sports fans to hearing a game instead of music on our cruise when laying on the Lido. Sports should be in the Sports bar. We get as far away as we can and still enjoy laying out on the upper deck, but we really really miss the cruise music. There is a lot of good performers around the ship, just never out on deck. (ok, deep breath-move on)
Things that have been mentioned on Cruise Critic:
We still got pillow chocolates and full ice buckets every night without asking. In fact, we only saw our room steward once on the first day and never again. Service was excellent as always.
Tips: We always leave auto tips on and we tip extra to whoever makes our cruise extra special. Before Anytime Dining, we tipped extra to our whole wait team and others, but now we never see the same ones twice. I don't really like that, but we love anytime dining, and it saves us a bundle on extra tips, as we don't have anyone special to tip. We just tip our room steward and a bartender or two and that's it. We save $100 probably in extra tips that we used to give out, so that's another plus of Anytime Dining.
Other Good things:
The Latin band was excellent! Most nights it was in the Venecia lounge. Just wonderful! Enjoyed being there almost every night after visiting the Alchemy bar.
The Comedy Club is a good change. We really like it. It didn't replace any shows, and was added entertainment. We only attended the early family friendly shows as the adult shows get a little tough for us. But the comedians were very good and a nice alternative to a show we've seen a bunch of times.
The Pizza has changed. It's very good! We always get a piece of pizza and wind down at the back of the ship before heading to our cabin at the end of the day. Very thin and crunchy. Another nice change.
Interesting things that happened:
We noticed we didn't get receipts with our onboard purchases. That has never happened before. I guess the idea is less pieces of paper blowing around. I used to use them to keep track of our daily spending, but it was nice not worrying about it. They have the signed copy, so in a dispute it is their copy that counts anyway.
Jerry, the awesome Atrium singer, was not there. His picture was still on the wall, so I guess he was on vacation. Missed him. There were NO crowds in the atrium that usually surround him. There was a country singer that was very good, but no large crowds.
Very Rough seas all week. But we do not get sea sick and enjoyed the extra movement. Shows were changed due to the rough seas for the protection of the performers. It rained some every day, but we liked that too, as we have been dying of heat and dry weather in Texas all summer.
The loudspeaker woke us up every 20 minutes after 3 AM one night looking for a missing person. No one got much sleep that night. Thought we'd end up turing around and looking for someone, but we didn't. After a few hours they stopped calling and the next day they said they found the person safe and sound. No more info.
Excursions: We've done it all and are now beach layers on port days.
Progreso: We went to Technotel through Autoprogreso. They are waiting just outside the Terminal. All inclusive and we paid $35 per person, less than ' the Carnival excursion price. - Wonderful beach day!
Cozumel: We always go to Nachi Cocum (reserve online and take a taxi) All inclusive ' Wonderful beach day #2!
We enjoyed our last night up to the very end without worrying about packing. We love that about Self-Assist. We got up at 6:30 am and packed on the last morning. We were in our car headed home at 8:45 am. Went to the Self-Assist waiting area for Platinum and above and were among the first ones off. No waiting for customs as all. We used Discount Cruise Parking for the second time and it was great again. It is at the Exxon station just as you get off the interstate. They are so nice, cheap, and it is very convenient. When we got off, they were waiting and they took just the two of us to our car. Perfect end to another perfect cruise.
We are booking Triumph for next Fall as you read this.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your next cruise! Less
Read more Carnival Triumph cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Carnival Triumph Review >>
Cabin review: 8B9226 Balcony
9226 Lido Balcony. We loved the location. Near the Lido deck pools and the buffets. Also not much hallway traffic and no noise. Close to a private deck area at the front of the ship. Just above where the water breaks below. Love this location!Read All Balcony (8B) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
We always do Nachi Cocum when in Cozumel. It is a wonderful day. Must reserve online for $49 per person. Taxi from the pier is $16 each way for up to 4 people. We arrive around 9am and stay as late as possible. All inclusive. Unlimited drinks, wonderful food brought right to your palapa. Other beach activities available for a charge. Massages are expensive at $70 per hour, but my wife says its the best she's ever had. Never crowded. Don't miss it.
Mexican and Mayan experience
Great Get Away
Fast. Fun. Feasible.